Robert Taylor
Perfect Profile

Robert Taylor

Real Name: Spangler Arlington Brugh
Date of Birth: August 5, 1911
Place of Birth: Filley, Nebraska, USA
Date of Death: June 8, 1969
Place of Death: Santa Monica, California, USA
Cause of Death: lung cancer
Spouse #1: Barbara Stanwyck (1939 - 1951, divorced)
Spouse #2: Ursula Thiess (1954 - until his death; two children)
Nickname: "The Man with the Perfect Profile"
Directed 17 United States Navy training films during World War II.
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA
in the Garden of Honor, Columbarium of the Evening Star.
(Not accessible to the general public.)

Robert Taylor's given name is a mouthful, Spangler Arlington Brugh. He was born the son of a Nebraska doctor. In high school, he participated on the track team, won oratory awards, and played the cello in the school orchestra.

He studied music at Doane College in Nebraska. He came to California in the early 1930s and while attending Pomona College to study medicine, he became involved in student theatricals. He was frequently given leading roles due to his uncommon handsomeness.

Spotted by an MGM talent scout, he was signed to a contract in 1934. He was loaned out to Fox for his first film, "Handy Andy" (1934.) Taylor was given a publicly distributed "screen test" in MGM's "Buried Loot", part of the "Crime Does Not Pay" series of shorts, playing a handsome gangster who tries to avoid arrest by disfiguring his face with acid. He was loaned out to Universal for "Magnificent Obsession" (1935), which propelled Taylor to matinee-idol status.

Good looks were also a curse of sorts for Robert Taylor. He was considered too "pretty" to be taken seriously by the critics and had to endure some horrible reviews during his first years in films; even when delivering a perfectly acceptable performance. When he portrayed Armand in Camille (1936), Taylor was given little praise. Reviewers commented on how "surprised" they were that he could act. The critics may not have liked Taylor, but his fans and co-workers certainly did. He impressed everyone with his cooperation and willingness to give 150% on the set. Taylor was actually a very capable actor, giving good performances in most of his filmss, and fully worthy of having his name emblazoned on signs in metal letters.

He contributed greatly to the war effort, serving as a flight instructor for the Naval Air Transport division, narrating the 1944 documentary "The Fighting Lady" and directing 17 United States Navy training films during World War II.

His film career slowed during the 1950s and Taylor starred for three years in the popular weekly police series "The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor" (1959-62.) When Ronald Reagan left acting for a political career in 1965, Taylor succeeded Reagan as host/narrator of the Western anthology "Death Valley Days."

Robert Taylor was married twice, to actresses Barbara Stanwyck (1939-1951) and Ursula Thiess (1954-1969, his death). He had two children with Thiess, a son Terrence born in 1955, and a daughter Theresa born in 1959.

Jane Ellen Wayne wrote a biography titled "Robert Taylor: The Man With the Perfect Face." CLICK HERE for more information. Lawrence J. Quirk wrote a book titled "The Films of Robert Taylor." CLICK HERE for more information.

CLICK HERE to read the mini-article on Robert Taylor in the June 2003 issue of Biography Magazine.

CLICK HERE to read Linda J. Alexander's article on Robert Taylor titled "The Family Legacy of Robert Taylor, Film Legend...& Father."

CLICK HERE to read another Linda J. Alexander article on Robert Taylor titled "Robert Taylor: Still A Star."


Robert Taylor



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"Cold War" (1998) (mini) TV Series (archive footage) (uncredited) ~~~~ Himself (testifies before HUAC)
That's Dancing! (1985) (archive footage)
Hot Line (1968) ~~~~ Anderson
Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows (1968) ~~~~ Mr. Farraday
Hondo and the Apaches (1967) (TV) ~~~~ Gallagher
Glass Sphinx, The (1967 (1967) ~~~~ Prof. Karl Nichols
Return of the Gunfighter (1967) (TV) ~~~~ Ben Wyatt
Johnny Tiger (1966) ~~~~ George Dean
Savage Pampas (1966) ~~~~ Captain Martin
"Death Valley Days" (1952) TV Series ~~~~ Host (1966-1968)
House Is Not a Home, A (1964) ~~~~ Frank Costigan
MGM's Big Parade of Comedy (1964) (uncredited) (archive footage)
Night Walker, The (1964) ~~~~ Barry Moreland
Miracle of the White Stallions (1963) ~~~~ Colonel Podhajsky
Cattle King (1963) ~~~~ Sam Brassfield
House of the Seven Hawks, The (1959) ~~~~ John Nordley
Killers of Kilimanjaro (1959) ~~~~ Robert Adamson
"Detectives Starring Robert Taylor, The" (1959) TV Series ~~~~ Detective Captain Matt Holbrook
Hangman, The (1959) ~~~~ Mackenzie Bovard
Law and Jake Wade, The (1958) ~~~~ Jake Wade
Party Girl (1958) ~~~~ Thomas Farrell
Saddle the Wind (1958) ~~~~ Steve Sinclair
Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957) ~~~~ Lloyd Tredman
Power and the Prize, The (1956) ~~~~ Cliff Barton
Last Hunt, The (1956) ~~~~ Charlie Gilson
D-Day the Sixth of June (1956) ~~~~ Captain Brad Parker
Adventures of Quentin Durward, The (1955) ~~~~ Quentin Durward
Many Rivers to Cross (1955) ~~~~ Bushrod Gentry
Rogue Cop (1954) ~~~~ Detective Sgt. Christopher Kelvaney
Valley of the Kings (1954) ~~~~ Mark Brandon
All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953) ~~~~ Joel Shore
Knights of the Round Table (1953) ~~~~ Sir Lancelot
Ride, Vaquero! (1953) ~~~~ Rio
I Love Melvin (1953) ~~~~ Cameo appearance
Hoaxters, The (1952) (voice) ~~~~ Narrator
Above and Beyond (1952) ~~~~ Colonel Paul Tibbets
Ivanhoe (1952) ~~~~ Ivanhoe
Challenge the Wilderness (1951) (uncredited) ~~~~ Himself
Quo Vadis? (1951) ~~~~ Marcus Vinicius
Westward the Women (1951) ~~~~ Buck
Devil's Doorway (1950) ~~~~ Lance Poole
Screen Actors (1950) (uncredited)
Ambush (1949) ~~~~ Ward Kinsman
Conspirator (1949) ~~~~ Major Michael Currah
Bribe, The (1949) ~~~~ Rigby
Secret Land, The (1948) (voice) ~~~~ Narrator
High Wall (1947) ~~~~ Steven Kenet
Undercurrent (1946) ~~~~ Alan Garroway
Fighting Lady, The (1944) (voice) ~~~~ Narrator
Bataan (1943) ~~~~ Sergeant Bill Dane
Song of Russia (1943) ~~~~ John Meredith
Stand by for Action (1943) ~~~~ Lieutenant Gregg Masterson
Youngest Profession, The (1943) ~~~~ Cameo appearance
Her Cardboard Lover (1942) ~~~~ Terry Trindale
Billy the Kid (1941) ~~~~ William "Billy the Kid" Bonney
Johnny Eager (1941) ~~~~ Johnny Eager
When Ladies Meet (1941) ~~~~ Jimmy Lee
Flight Command (1940) ~~~~ Ens. Alan Drake
Waterloo Bridge (1940) ~~~~ Roy Cronin
Escape (1940) ~~~~ Mark Preysing
Lady of the Tropics (1939) ~~~~ Bill Carey
Remember? (1939) ~~~~ Jeff Holland
Stand Up and Fight (1939) ~~~~ Blake Cantrell
Lucky Night (1939) ~~~~ William 'Bill' Overton
Crowd Roars, The (1938) ~~~~ Tommy "Killer" McCoy
Yank at Oxford, A (1938) ~~~~ Lee Sheridan
Three Comrades (1938) ~~~~ Erich Lohkamp
Lest We Forget (1937)
Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) ~~~~ Steve Raleigh
This Is My Affair (1937) ~~~~ Lieut. Richard Perry
Personal Property (1937) ~~~~ Raymond Dabney
Camille (1937) ~~~~ Armand Duval
Private Number (1936) ~~~~ Richard Winfield
Gorgeous Hussy, The (1936) ~~~~ 'Bow' Timberlake
His Brother's Wife (1936) ~~~~ Chris Claybourne
Small Town Girl (1936) ~~~~ Dr. Robert 'Bob' Dakin
Murder in the Fleet (1935) ~~~~ Lieut. Tom Randolph
Times Square Lady (1935) ~~~~ Steve Gordon
West Point of the Air (1935) ~~~~ Jaskerelli
Magnificent Obsession (1935) ~~~~ Robert Merrick
Fiesta de Santa Barbara, La (1935) (uncredited) ~~~~ Himself
Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) ~~~~ Bob Gordon
Society Doctor (1935) ~~~~ Dr. Tommy 'Sprout' Ellis
Buried Loot (1935) (uncredited) ~~~~ Albert 'Al' Douglas
Wicked Woman, A (1934) ~~~~ Bill Renton
There's Always Tomorrow (1934) ~~~~ Arthur White
Handy Andy (1934) ~~~~ Lloyd Burmeister


"Death Valley Days" (1952) in episode: "Shanghai Kelly's Birthday Party" (episode # 16.1) 10/7/1967
"Death Valley Days" (1952) in episode: "Day All Marriages Were Cancelled, The" (episode # 15.1) 9/2/1966


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